Vitamin D to the Rescue Again

Expert’s Name: Gail Edgell
Are you taking the right menopause supplements for your health?

Believe it or not, we are only in the mid-point of the summer and the flu
vaccine is surfacing once again in the news. Manufacturers are actually already distributing the vaccine worldwide.Over 350 children (ages six-15) took part in the study in which they half the children were givien 1200 IU’s of vitamin D over a period of three months. The remaining children were given a placebo. In the first month, both groups were equally as sick, but in the second and third month the scientists found that the group given the vitamin D supplement had a 33 percent reduction in flu like symptoms.Let’s put that up against the anti-viral drugs on the market, zanamivir and oseltamivir which reduced the risk of flu infection by 8 percent in those who had been exposed to the virus. As you know anti-viral drugs have been known to have drastic side effects In fact, another study came out this week showing that seizures are on the rise in children getting the flu vaccine. These drugs are also expensive and toxic to the body. On the other hand, vitamin D has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and increase immunity. As most of you know,many menopausal women are highly stressed which has a direct impact on the immune system.As Dr. John Oxford, professor of virology at the Queen Mary School of Medicine in London says more studies need to conducted to find out if in fact vitamin Dsupplementation should given at the same time as the vaccination.Ok. Here is where I put in my 10 cents. If vaccines are making individuals deathly sick and toxic, why do we want to supplement vitamin D at the time of anti-viral vaccine? Could we possibly think about giving vitamin D as protection against all types of influenza without the toxic vaccine? I guess this would be too logical. Or
could it be that the government will no longer make money off of this venture if the simple solution is taking an over the counter supplement?

Think about this. Have you ever noticed that influenza strikes people in the north much more than people in the south. Why is that? One of the obvious reasons is Vitamin D exposure from the sun.

I strongly encourage all menopausal women to get a 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test. It is estimated that 95 percent of individuals are deficient. It is just a matter of finding out how deficient. When purchasing a vitamin D supplement make sure it is not a tablet and is in the form of a oil capsules which is more easily dissolved in the body.

To read more about this study go to Vitamin D evidence.

If you would like to read more about vitamin D go to Menopause Support.

Menopause Treatment: Hot Flashes Be Gone!

Natural Support for Menopause
Expert’s Name: Sarah LoBisco, ND

 

Many believe that the transition into menopause is a turbulent rollercoaster; however, this doesn’t always have to be the case. It’s true! I’ve had women in my practice enter menopause with minimal to no “typical menopausal symptoms.”

The fact is that symptoms are just your body’s way of communicating that something isn’t right. If the body had what it needed, it wouldn’t be making us so uncomfortable in order to get our attention! Therefore, symptoms of menopause can actually serve as a guidepost to what is going wrong. As a Naturopathic and Functional Medicine Practitioner, I want to know why the body is signaling this imbalance, and then once this cause is addressed, the symptoms subside.

For example, hot flashes are related to fluctuations in hormones. This is apparent at menopause because the adrenal glands are taking up the slack of the decreased production of estrogen and progesterone from the ovaries. Therefore, if a woman is already stressed out in everyday life, menopause will present with noticeable hot flashes. However, hormonal surges will be minimal if her body is already strong and healthy.

If a woman is experiencing hormonal symptoms, support can be given to help her regain balance through lifestyle, nutritional support, and adrenal and hormonal balancing herbals. If estrogen is low, herbals such as red clover, black cohosh, or other phytoestrogens can be used. Progesterone support can be found in other herbals such as wild yam.

Still, it’s important to assess what the cause of the hormonal balance is. We already discussed adrenal stress, but in my clinic, I not only look at hormonal balance but also blood sugar fluctuations, gut disturbances, liver support, and inflammation.

If blood sugar is imbalanced, this can cause a surge of the hormones cortisol and insulin which then creates a down regulation of estrogen and progesterone. Eating a balanced diet with whole foods, lower carbohydrates, and more protein can help.
Digestive track health also contributes to hormonal balance by its ability to absorb nutrients important for hormonal conversion. The gut also is responsible for making neurotransmitters through the enteric nervous system. This is important for mood balance and their affects hormones.

The colon is home to beneficial bacteria which aid the liver in hormone detoxification. Supplements such as DIM or cruciferous vegetables can decrease the amount of inflammatory estrogens and form a more healthy balance of estrogen and progesterone. Probiotics can also tone down inflammation and help establish an optimal home for the gut flora to do its job.

The take away point is that there are many natural options available to women in menopause. Suffering does not have to be part of the picture. Talking to a knowledgeable Integrative Practitioner and doing some simple lifestyle and dietary changes can create happy hormone balance.

Menopause Supplements: Some All Stars

Menopause Supplements: Some All Stars

Menopause and Vitamins
Expert’s Name:  Robin Pruitt

 

There is a lot of conflicting health information available these days. On one hand, we are told that lycopene is the latest antioxidant star and that the best source of lycopene is cooked tomato products such as canned tomatoes and tomato sauce. On the other hand, we read about the dangers of BPA, a component of the plastic commonly used to line the insides of food cans. Current research indicates that BPA can mimic estrogen and interrupt normal thyroid function, and the FDA recently expressed concern about the effects of BPA exposure. Assuming that you don’t have all day to cook your own tomato sauce, what should you do if you’d like to get the benefits of lycopene: Forget about BPA and keep your pantry stocked with canned tomatoes? Or, take lycopene supplements and only eat fresh tomatoes? And why is lycopene getting so much attention, anyway?

Lycopene is a carotenoid—a class of antioxidants that provides the color to red, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables. Carotenoid is an antioxidant, which means that they prevent disease-causing cell damage caused by free radicals in the body. The recent excitement about lycopene stems from its powerful antioxidant ability.
Research studies have shown that lycopene has the most benefit in the parts of the body with the highest lycopene concentration. In women, lycopene is most prominent in the liver, the adrenal glands and breast tissue. The liver is the body’s main filter, sorting out toxins from nutrients and playing a key role in hormonal balance, especially during menopause. The adrenal glands also affect hormonal balance and influence thyroid function. And of course hormone levels have an impact on breast cancer risk. Since these three areas of a woman’s body would benefit the most from the powerful antioxidant activity of lycopene, women in mid-life have plenty of reason to ensure that their diets contain ample lycopene.
As a bonus, research indicates that lycopene may be the most powerful antioxidant to counteract the skin-aging free radicals caused by sun exposure. Further, there is evidence that lycopene aids in the prevention of osteoporosis. And for the man in your life, there is a very clear inverse relationship between the amount of tomato products eaten and the incidence of prostate cancer—in other words; men who eat the most tomato products have dramatically fewer cases of prostate cancer. In fact, numerous studies have shown that the more tomato products people eat, the lower their risk of all types of cancer.
Maximizing the Benefit of Lycopene
Our bodies can’t create lycopene; we need to obtain it from fruits and vegetables. Tomato products are generally the handiest way to ensure an abundant source of lycopene, but there are other sources. Lycopene provides another reason to enjoy watermelon, papaya, pink grapefruit, apricots, red bell peppers, goji berries and guava, but tomatoes dwarf them all as a source of lycopene.
Research has revealed several factors that impact the body’s ability to utilize the lycopene from tomato products. First, lycopene is the pigment that gives red tomatoes their color. Therefore, bright red tomatoes, rather than the lovely and delicious yellow, orange and green varieties of heirloom tomatoes, are the best sources of lycopene. Also, the riper the better, since lycopene levels increase as the tomato ripens.
Studies indicate that the best way to benefit from lycopene is to consume lycopene-containing foods rather than supplements. Processed tomatoes are better sources of lycopene than raw tomatoes because the processing releases the lycopene by breaking down the cell walls of the tomato. Additionally, heat transforms the chemical structure to a more bioavailable form of lycopene. For that reason, canned tomatoes and tomato paste and prepared pasta and pizza sauces are often recommended as ideal sources of lycopene. Sundried tomatoes and dried tomato powder should also be excellent lycopene sources due to their concentrated nature.
Lycopene is a fat-soluble nutrient, so it is best absorbed when eaten along with healthy sources of oils and fats—another reason why pasta and pizza sauces are recommended ways of obtaining lycopene.
Additionally, studies have shown that lycopene is much more easily absorbed when ingested along with beta carotene. Beta carotene, another potent antioxidant, is associated with orange foods, including apricots, cantaloupe, mangos, carrots, pumpkin, squash and sweet potatoes. Certain leafy green vegetables, including collard greens, kale and spinach are also good sources of beta carotene. But the most natural beta carotene-rich partner for tomatoes is basil. I wonder—could it be that the health benefits of the so-called Mediterranean Diet stem from the combination of tomatoes, olive oil and basil found in so many dishes from that region?
A Balanced Approach
By now it should be clear that there are tremendous health benefits to including frequent servings of processed tomato products in your diet. It also appears that the benefits of eating cooked tomatoes outweigh the risk of exposure to small amounts of BPA from the plastic lining of tomato cans. Here are some ways to obtain the benefits of tomato-based sources of lycopene while minimizing your exposure to BPA:
  • Use jarred, rather than canned, tomatoes and sauces.
  • Increase the lycopene content of soups, sauces and vegetable dishes by adding dried tomato powder and sundried tomatoes.
  • In the summertime when tomatoes are plentiful, make a large batch of homemade tomato sauce and freeze it in meal-sized portions.
  • Eat apricots, which are good sources of both lycopene and beta carotene. For added benefit, add them to a salad with an oil-based dressing.
  • Limit your exposure to other BPA sources by minimizing the use of all canned foods and avoiding the use of polycarbonate plastic containers, especially with hot foods.
  • Make sure you have ample supplies of antioxidants in your diet so your body can do a better job of counteracting the negative effects of occasional dietary exposure to BPA and other unhealthful substances.

Bone Loss During Menopause

Women and Osteoporosis
Expert’s Name:  Susan Joyce Proctor
 
Osteoporosis and Menopause

One of the health concerns facing menopausal women is osteoporosis, a condition involving degeneration and weakening of the bones. It is a potentially serious condition, as older women with weak bones face the risk of fractures upon falling.

During perimenopause and menopause, women usually experience declining levels of estrogen and progesterone, and often testosterone as well. Because all three of these hormones serve to protect bone, their decline results in increased incidence of osteoporosis.

While drug therapies exist to help treat osteoporosis, it of course makes sense to support bone health with nutrition and lifestyle choices when at all possible. The most critical nutrients for bone health are calcium and Vitamin D. Both of these nutrients can be taken in supplement form, but the best source of Vitamin D is the body itself (and exposure to sunlight is the best way to support its production), and calcium is ideally obtained through food.

Getting Enough Calcium

As most people know, dairy products are a good food source of calcium. But dairy is not the best choice for everyone, and there are a number of reasons why people may choose to avoid dairy. One reason is lactose intolerance, a condition in which people do not have the necessary enzymes for digesting dairy properly.

Another reason is that dairy is not beneficial for all the blood types. As I’ve described in other articles, my Gourmet Wellness program is largely based on Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo’s “blood type diets.” According to Dr. D’Adamo’s groundbreaking work, each of the four different human blood types has a different physiology and does best with different foods.

Fortunately, there are many non-dairy food sources of calcium, and these include sesame seeds, leafy green vegetables, seaweeds, soy products, the soft bones in fish like sardines and canned salmon, and dried fruit.

The Best Calcium Sources for Your Blood Type

Of the many food sources of calcium, here are the best ones for each blood type:

  • Blood Type O: green leafy vegetables, seaweeds, sesame seeds, goat cheese and goat milk, sardines/canned salmon
  • Blood Type A: green leafy vegetables, seaweeds, sesame seeds, goat cheese and goat milk, cultured dairy products like yogurt, tofu and other soy products, sardines/canned salmon
  • Blood Type B: green leafy vegetables, seaweeds, cultured dairy products like yogurt, most other forms of dairy, sardines/canned salmon
  • Blood Type AB: green leafy vegetables, seaweeds, cultured dairy products like yogurt, most other forms of dairy, tofu and other soy products, and sardines/canned salmon.

You will notice that the A and AB blood types have the widest choices of calcium-rich foods, and that is a good thing; these two blood types face the highest risks of osteoporosis and should ideally consume plenty of calcium. They lack an enzyme called intestinal alkaline phosphates, which O and B blood types have, and which help protect and strengthen bone.

Other Important Tips

In addition to food sources, several culinary herbs and spices can also be sources of calcium. These include basil, cinnamon, dill, peppermint, and thyme.

And while most of my recommendations involve foods that are ideally consumed to protect bone strength, I also need to tell you about what to avoid: carbonated beverages, especially soda of all types, deplete calcium from the bones and should definitely be avoided.

Supplements during Menopause: Feel Great Everyday with These

Supplements during Menopause: Feel Great Everyday with These

Take high quality supplements. I once read that we have to eat at least 5 times amount of food that our ancestors did to get the same amount of nutrients.

What should you be looking for in a supplement?

Supplements that are natural in color. Supplements that are free of sugar, corn, wheat, iron, dairy, salt, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners and preservatives. You want to look for supplements that are manufactured in a pharmaceutical grade FDA facility.

So what supplements should you be taking?

A multivitamin with as many B’s as possible. Fish or krill oil, vitamin D, probiotics, digestive enzyme, and a greens powder to help balance out your diet.

For more information go to http://www.360menopause.com/blog/menopause-supplements

Menopausal Supplements – Do You Need Them?

Menopause Treatment for Mineral Deficiency
Expert’s Name: Robin Pruitt

It’s not unusual for women in menopause to find that their blood pressure is rising. When this happens, the common advice is to cut back on sodium intake. If you’ve dramatically cut back on salt usage to control blood pressure—or if you’ve just switched from common table salt to a natural sea salt—you may inadvertently become low on iodine.

Our culture hasn’t been concerned about iodine deficiency for almost a century due to the widespread use of iodized salt. However, in recent years a number of health practitioners have found that low-level iodine deficiency is very common, especially in older women.

Iodine and Your Thyroid

Without adequate sources of iodine, the thyroid gland can’t produce thyroid hormones, which regulate a wide range of essential bodily functions ranging from digestion and assimilation to immune and nervous system functions, and even affect mood and temperature regulation. Low iodine levels can result in a wide range of symptoms including fatigue, slower metabolism and weight gain, mental fuzziness, depression and low sex drive. This closely resembles a list of common menopause symptoms, so it makes sense that maintaining proper iodine levels can help to ease the discomforts of menopause.

How Healthy Trends Can Lead to an Iodine Deficiency

It is ironic that improved dietary practices may have led to a resurgence of iodine deficiency.   In the quest to improve their health, many people have reduced their salt intake to lower their blood pressure or cut back on seafood consumption due to concerns about pollutants in seafood. There is also a current focus on natural salts that aren’t iodized.

And if you’ve followed the advice to increase your consumption of leafy green and cruciferous vegetables, you may be surprised—and frustrated—to learn that many of them can neutralize iodine in the body. Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and leafy greens such as collards, kale and mustard greens all contain enzymes known as goitrogens that can block the body’s use of iodine to produce thyroid hormones. This “goitrogenic” effect is more pronounced if large quantities of these vegetables are eaten raw.

Our bodies don’t store iodine, so we must make sure our diets contain adequate sources. It doesn’t take much: iodine is a trace mineral, and the RDA is only 150 micrograms. The most reliable sources of iodine come from the sea.

Here is a balanced approach to getting the required level of iodine while minimizing other health concerns:

1. Sea vegetables are excellent sources of iodine. Here are some suggested uses:

  • An easy way to add sea vegetables to your diet is to sprinkle a small amount of kelp powder or dulse flakes onto salads and vegetables.
  • Add arame or hijiki to soups or salads.
  • Make nori rolls by rolling julienned vegetables in nori sheets.
  • Add a small piece of dried kombu to bean dishes. This will also make the beans easier to digest
  • Use agar as a thickener or gelling agent instead of cornstarch, wheat or gelatin.

2. If you eat fish, have an occasional meal of sardines or other small wild fish to obtain iodine while avoiding concentrated heavy metals and pollutants.

3. Cooking significantly decreases the iodine-blocking effect of cruciferous and leafy green vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, collards, kale and mustard greens.

4. If you regularly eat raw cruciferous or leafy green vegetables, it is even more important to supplement your diet with one of the iodine sources listed above.